Russia Vetoes UN Security Action On Ukraine, Here’s All You Need To Know About Veto Power

A veto is a negative vote in the UNSC and is the most important distinction between permanent and non-permanent members.

Rashmeet Kaur
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You might have been hearing that discussions are going on in the United Nations Security Council regarding the Veto Power during the past week. What is it all about? Read this article to know more!

On 25th February 2022, Russia used its veto power to a UNSC resolution that condemned Russia's "aggression" against its smaller and militarily weaker neighbour country Ukraine.

The resolution states that Russia "shall immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and shall refrain from any further unlawful threat or use of force against any UN member state."

While, 11 countries voted in favour of the resolution, countries like India, China, and the United Arab Emirates abstained from voting, which basically means that these countries showed significant but not total opposition to Russia’s invasion.

Now, you might be wondering that what is UNSC? What does Veto Power mean? How a country can use Veto Power?

Don’t worry, today, we are going to explain everything about this and in much simpler terms. Scroll down.

Know About The United Nations Security Council

united nations security council

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was established by the UN Charter in the year 1945. It is one of six principal organs of the United Nations and has been given the charge to maintain international peace, harmony, and security.

The Council has 15 members in total and takes the initiative to determine how the dispute between two or more countries can be halted after comprehensive discussions with the member states and the disputing parties.

What Is A Veto Power?

A Veto Power is basically a negative vote and is the primary distinction between the permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC.

In simple terms, if any one of the permanent member states of the Security Council casts a Veto Power or a negative vote in a pending decision of the Council then, the resolution cannot be approved.

As per Article 27 (3) of the United Nations Charter, the Council must take all the important decisions with “the concurring votes of the permanent members.”

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What About The Permanent And Non-Permanent Members?

permanent members of UNSC

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The UN Security Council has a total of 15 members among which there are 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.

The permanent members of the UNSC are the United States, Russia (formerly, USSR), France, China, and the United Kingdom. These countries have somewhere played a crucial part in the establishment of the UN because of which they are provided with some special privileges. One of these is exercising the Right to Veto.

On the other hand, the non-permanent member states are elected for two-year terms. At present, the non-permanent members of the UNSC are India, Estonia, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

Though these member states have a Right to Vote but they can’t exercise the Right to Veto.

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Usage Of The Veto Power By The Permanent Member States

usage of veto power

Image Courtesy: The Times of Israel

Over the years, all the permanent members have used the Veto Power. But Russia has used this privilege the most times, followed by the United States.

  • According to the Security Council Report, Russia/USSR has exercised its veto power 146 times to date.
  • The United States has cast 82 vetoes to date, while the first was cast in March 1970.
  • Whereas, the United Kingdom has exercised its Right to Veto for 31 times.
  • China has used the veto power for 18 times. In this count, one veto was used by the Republic of China (ROC) while, the remaining 17 have been cast by the People's Republic of China.
  • France had applied a veto power for the first time in 1946 and till now, it has used the privilege for 17 times.

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